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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Steve Arloff, Nick Barnard, Pierre Giroux, Don Mather, Glyn Pursglove, George Stacy, Bert Thompson, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf



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DVD REVIEW

 

CHICK COREA & GARY BURTON

Jazz

Arthaus Musik 107 083

 

 

1. Love Castle
2. Native Sense
3. Duende
4. No Mystery
5. Bagatelle VI
6. Postscript
7. Bagatelle II
8. Four in One
9. Tango '92
10. Rhumbata
11. Bud Powell
12. La Fiesta

Chick Corea - Piano
Gary Burton - Vibes

 

Chick Corea and Gary Burton have been performing together since the early 1970s, so you would expect them to have developed empathy and togetherness. That is exactly what they have done. Besides which, they are both virtuosi, so they provide music which is as near perfect as music can get. Ij a way, that is all that needs to be said about this DVD of a concert at the 1997 Munich Klaviersommer. So I'll just pick out some highlights from a performance which is a continuous stream of highlights.

Chick Corea wrote all the tunes on the disc, except for Thelonious Monk's Four in One and two Bagatelles by Bela Bartok, adapted by Chick. The opening Love Castle has the Latin tinge which is present in so many Corean compositions. Gary Burton uses four mallets at the start of the piece but then solos using just two: a procedure which he adopts in most numbers. Chick's solo is richly melodic, with Gary filling in the chords behind him.

Native Sense is another Latinate tune which, like many of Corea's compositions, is simultaneously complex and tuneful. Burton's speed on the vibes is phenomenal. No Mystery is a gorgeous tune which repeatedly reappears in Chick's concerts and recordings: understandably, because it is a superb vehicle for improvisation. Chick's fingers fly over the piano keys as rapidly as Gary's mallets fly over the vibraphone.

Thelonious Monk's Four in One is a difficult tune to play but Burton delivers the theme with lightning brilliance. Chick's solo includes some Monkish jaggedness, and the couple's closeness is evident when they swap fours. The Latin tinge recurs in Rhumbata and Tango 92, the latter written for a film that never happened. Bud Powell has a bebop flavour and proves an appropriate tribute to the pianist.

The concert ends with La Fiesta, one of Chick's best-known showpieces. It starts with an introduction which gives few hints as to what is to come but, once the duettists launch into the tune, they conjure up a truly festive atmosphere. This festivity is found in all the duets between Chick and Gary. It arises naturally from a mutual appreciation of one another's qualities. Corea says: "It's the kind of musical situation I enjoy the most, working with a musician friend whose playing I really love, who I always feel like I can learn something from". And Burton says: "A duet with Chick is an intense conversation with your best friend".

Tony Augarde
www.augardebooks.co.uk



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